Each redistricting dataset merges the electoral data the SWDB collected and processed over the preceding decade with the most current census data (PL94-171). The result is a census block level dataset that allows for longitudinal analysis of electoral data over time on the same unit of analysis. Electoral data consist of the Statements of Vote (SOV) and Statements of Registration (SOR) for each statewide election. These data are collected from the Registrars of Voters for each of the 58 California counties with each election.
The SWDB collects the Statement of Vote and the Statement of Registration along with various geography files from each of the 58 counties for every statewide election. The Statement of Vote is a precinct level dataset and precincts in California change frequently between elections. The goal of the SWDB is to make election data available that can be compared over time, on the same unit of analysis – a precinct, a census block or a census tract.
August 19, 2010
Texans drove hundreds of miles to ask state legislators Wednesday for simpler, more compact political districts, a wish Lubbock’s outgoing representative warned may be tough to legally grant.
Speakers from Hereford, Big Spring, Midland-Odessa and Lubbock who made up what members of the House Redistricting Committee and Committee on Civil Jurisprudence called their largest crowd yet asked repeatedly for political districts that kept their rural interests undiluted.
Some asked for greater minority representation, and not to overlook the growth of West Texas’ Hispanic population over the last 10 years. Several speakers criticized the somewhat serpentine congressional and legislative districts stringing the region’s voters together as too difficult for both rural voters and their representatives to manage.
“We’d like to see Senate districts make sense, not be long, skinny things,” Lubbock resident Mary Hatfield said.
But Rep. Delwin Jones, R-Lubbock, warned after the three-hour hearing of little opportunity for more compact districts that complied with federal law.
“You’re going to have a weird configuration any way you do it,” Jones said. “To meet these conditions, you have to.”
Representatives met in Lubbock for the latest in a series of public hearings around Texas on the political mapmaking set to roil the state next year.
Texas will update its state and federal political boundaries to try to balance the influence of its voters based on how the most recent census shows their spread across the state.
More Texans in the most recent federal census could mean three to four new federal representatives for the state. But West Texas has lost population in several counties and comes nowhere near the growth rate of urban counties, raising fears the region could lose a state representative and rural clout in the Legislature.
“Even though we are spread thin, we deserve to be represented,” said Rep. Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton. “We know Texas loves our food, our fiber, our oil, our money — we just want them to love our people.”
Several speakers asked for more compact political districts to keep like-minded communities together.
A controversial mid-decade redistricting in 2003 congressional districts helped lead to the ouster of former U.S. Rep. Charlie Stenholm and remained fresh in the minds of several speakers, including subcommittee member Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, who was one of the legislators who broke a House quorum that year in an attempt to stop the new map.
The process left behind sprawling districts with fingers dividing neighboring counties in Congress.
“That dilutes our voice,” said Robert Ricketts, who made an unsuccessful run against U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, in 2006. “It’s not practical to ask people, to expect people to cross those far distances to get together.”
Speakers including Lubbock County Commissioner Gilbert Flores asked for greater minority representation and influence in West Texas districts, to reflect the increasing number of Hispanics in the state. Others told committee members to get rid of the process entirely.
“When you have two spoiled children fighting over the same toy, you take the toy away,” said Carol Morgan, a Democratic candidate for Lubbock state representative in District 84. “Legislators have much more important things to consider than lines on a map.”
Public comment will continue into December on the mapmaking process, with more heavy lifting on the new district boundaries to begin early next year.
“It’s not an easy process,” said Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, who was speaker of the House during the last mid-census redistricting and attended Wednesday’s hearing.
“There’ll be controversy after each one of them.”
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